Encore Jan 28, 2014
Theatre Downtown, Orlando FL
For a theater company about to get the boot, these guys are getting more and more prolific. Tonight’s fund raiser showcases a surprisingly large number of musicals that have graced this stage over the past twenty five years. A nearly full house and cast of dozens did a superb Greatest Hits show; John DiDonna reprised Dr. Frankfurter’s “Sweet Transvestite” from “The Rocky Horror Show.” When I first saw this performed I did not know Mr. DiDonna, but he introduced himself to me by sitting on my lap. My life has never been the same. Tonight that experience went to The Orlando Sentinel’s Matt Palm. Later a poignant Stephen Pugh performs the always touching “Mr. Cellophane” from the blockbuster “Chicago.” These shows gave us a clear lead in material; these are the productions people will see over and over. Adam McCabe’s “I’m Going Home” (also a RHPS fave) showed his more vulnerable side, and Desiree Perez reprised “Strange Fruit” from her recent “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” show. Natalie Doliner managed the fund raising part of the show; she sang about all the wonderful new features a dream Theatre Downtown might possess; the obligatory pokes at Florida Hospital and the City of Orlando brought a steady stream of small bills into the collection box. I could go on and for as long as the show did: material from “West Side Story” and “Altar Boyz” and “Avenue Q” and a pack of smaller titles filled the night, but at the end the same issue persists: a venerable institution falls before Central Florida’s version of progress.
For more information on Theatre Downtown’s search for a new home, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net